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Elisina Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, June 26, 1913


June 26th 1913.Thursday.

Dearest Mildred,

I am so happy that you are coming to dinner on Monday, and I hope that Robert will be able to come too. Otherwise I fear I shall not see him before I leave, as I shall be black and tired on Tuesday and gone on Wednesday. William goes with his fond attendantProbably Julie Mendiboure, William Royall Tyler's nanny. on Monday, to await us at Semur till we can take him on to Genay.Beginning in 1913, the Tylers rented the Château de Genay in the small village of Genay near Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy. Think carefully, please, of coming to us, and don’t let other people or other things chop in. We’ll work at your book,The book referred to here is unknown. It is later referred to as a novel. See letter of July 22, 1913. and I shall be so happy to have you a little quietly to myself. Also, when you are once with us, I do not doubt we shall be able to attract the elusive Robert.

I believe Royall has discovered a really fine and really interesting piece of pottery for Robert to see.Possibly a bowl (Ex.Coll.HC.C.1913.02.[EW])with a peacock painted on the interior formerly in the Dumbarton Oaks House Collection, which the Blisses acquired from the Parisian dealer Dikran G. Kelekian in 1913. I am not allowed to go and look at it, because it appears I look expensive,—o ciel!“Heavens!”—and I make prices go up. What is the use of being poor if one doesn’t look it?

We have signed the six-year lease of a flat on the Ile St. Louis21, Quai de Bourbon. this very day. It is full of incredibly ugly furniture at present, and the decorations! the decorations!! suffice it to say that when Madame has a dinner there, on lui en fait des compliments.“One compliments her on it.” I can only say that the dinner must be worse than the decorations, and that the guests must vent their feelings by being grimly humorous.

I have lots more to say, but like a coy woman, I won’t say it. Au revoir till Monday. I daresay B.B. will be cross because he has been lunching and dining out, and it isn’t good for his chronic complaint.

I never took Gambetta’s letters,Léon Gambetta (1838–1882), a French statesman. During the last twelve years of his life, he wrote love letters to Mme Léonie Léon. See “Gambetta’s Love Letters,” New York Times, January 13, 1907. The meaning of Elisina Tyler’s reference is, however, unclear. you know, and I have been writing imaginary ones instead—but not in black on white.

Dearest Mildred, good night, and my love to Robert.


Associated People: Bernard Berenson
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Artworks: Ex.Coll.HC.C.1913.02.(EW)